Most Women Own HOW Much In Unworn Clothing?

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Last week, we came across a study that said the average woman owns over $500 worth of unworn clothing. Researchers surveyed over 2,000 women ages 18 and over, and the majority confessed they'd never worn about 20% of the clothes in their closet. Yikes, right? Once we picked our jaws up from the floor, we started to wonder just how accurate this study was. So, we decided to test it out. Ahead, four staffers raid their closets and report back.

ConniePhotographed by Bek Andersen.
Connie Wang, Style Director
"I'm pretty good about only buying things I will wear forever and always, so I thought I'd clock in under $500 easily. I thought I was doing well! Whoops.

"I only had five items of clothing (totaling up to $625), and I DO plan on wearing them — someday. My problem is that I sometimes cave and buy clothing for some idea of an event that I have yet to be invited to (i.e. a beach wedding, a corporate cocktail party, a football game — ha, yeah right), and I never end up wearing it because those invitations never materialize. I am surprised at how many stupid pairs of shoes I've bought and never worn though. I tend to spend more on shoes than clothes, and it pains me to see all that money just sitting there.

"I might end up consigning my shoes, and then just giving away those clothes to worthy parents. However, if the other editors have the same kind of problem as I do, maybe we do a clothing swap?"



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MarissaPhotographed by Alexandra R. Gavillet.
Marissa Rosenblum, Shopping Director
"I'm not sure what to say for myself here. Actually, I know exactly what to say, but I'm not sure how to phrase it without coming off as a crazy lady hoarder. I take after my father. Meaning, I'm a collector. But, while his collections range from history books to coins to rare Scotches, I've only had one collection in my lifetime — clothes.

"They take up space. I love them, but it can be a problem. Except for when I'm in a bad mood one day, and go rummaging through my closet and come up with the most wonderful outfit combination that couldn't have come to fruition had I not bought that Pendleton wrap jacket while rummaging through vintage shops up in the Berkshires or that slightly impossible to figure out, yet prized scuba skirt from the last Jen Kao sample sale. It's an instant mood lifter and gets the brain going in the morning. So, while I do have a few big ticket items (evil Chanel heels that are all pain, no glory and a gorgeous Katayone Adeli suede coat that's been in holding for two years awaiting costly alterations), I mostly feel good about the better pieces in my closet even if I don't wear them very much. But, that being said, to bring the pack-rat status from the yellow to green zone, I'm probably due for a bit of a spring cleaning trip to the donation center."
zooeyPhotographed by Rockie Nolan.
Zooey Purdy, Product Manager
"I honestly thought I was going to have way more unworn items, but I really have worn all of my clothing at least once!

"I account the low total cost of my unworn items to a few things:
1. I moved into a new apartment two months ago, which gave me an excuse to do a major closet clean out. Even in doing that, there were not a ton of unworn items, but many of those I did have, I got rid of before moving.
2. I generally don't spend a lot of money on any one piece of clothing. If I see a runway/high-end look I like, I have a crazy knack for finding an inexpensive version through extensive Google research. Additionally, I do a ton of thrifting. I only invest in a more costly piece if I plan on wearing it at least once a month, or if I have a specific event I need it for (and even then I'll usually only purchase if I can foresee myself wearing it more beyond that first event).
3. I feel extreme guilt when I don't use things I buy. For that reason, I almost always wear any new item within two to three days of purchasing it. I also take extreme consideration over items before purchasing. I plan multiple outfits around the item in my head before taking the plunge.

"That said, of the five items I found, two of them are things I haven't quite figured out how to fit into an outfit (my original ideas worked better in theory than in reality). One item, high-waisted plaid trousers, seemed to fit in the dressing room much better than when I got it home. One item has needed to be hemmed since I bought it a year ago. The fifth item is a dress. I always think I want to wear dresses. I love the way they look on others, but when it comes to getting dressed in the morning, I'm just never in the mood for a dress.

"I plan on keeping all five of these pieces. Because of my guilt around unused purchases, I am now making myself a calendar event to go to the tailor, and I will continue to push myself to find ways to work each item into outfits I feel good about."
ShawnaPhotographed by Julia Lola Wang.
Shawna Strayhorn, Director, Business Intelligence
"Before I dug in, I assumed there would be an apartment down payment tucked away in the tiny closet of my rented studio apartment. So, color me impressed! I certainly (hopefully) won't be in renter purgatory forever.

"A quick survey of 20 or so pieces revealed two main themes — not-so investment pieces and fast-fashion shoes.

"But, man, what beautés — my grandpa-style multicolored Kenzo sweater or my eBay-find Ferragamo men's loafers or my red Surface To Air overcoat. I remember when I bought each of them. I let out a gasp (an involuntary sound I make when I just have to have it). So, I pulled the checkout trigger, and one year later (or, two or three), each item sits in my closet with the tags still on. Now, each piece is still as beautiful as the first day we locked eyes online, but I just never loved them the same way in the physical world.

"On the flip side, the story of my shoes is far less romantic and a bit more sadistic. Typically, I'm clicking through Zara or Aldo and stumble upon a pair of too-trendy heels made of too-stiff leather that pinch my toes and rub my heels. I get them home, try them on, hobble around, and return to my tried-and-true Loeffler Randall bootie the very next day. After, six or so times, I haven't learned my lesson yet. When it comes to footwear, I prefer classic, comfortable, and walkable.

"For my never-worn shoes? Straight to eBay. I live in NYC, and I need function over fast fashion. For the beauties in the back — I'll keep 'em. Perhaps, admire them for another season or two. But, that's the timeless joy of classics."